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Tuition Fees Could Fall For Humanities Students and Rise For STEM Students
Theresa May has launched an investigation into higher education fees, to ensure students are getting ‘value for money’
Headed by Financial Services expert Philip Augar, a review of post-18 education could lower fees for Arts-based degrees to £6,500. However, degrees in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Medicine could increase to £13,500.
Although, any definitive key changes will not be announced until next year.
Recent reports have suggested that the review is on course to alter tuition fees according to degree-type, proposing an elevated cost for degrees with higher-earning prospects, particularly maths and science-oriented degrees.
The revised system would charge more for degrees in fields that generally lead to more well-paid careers, as opposed to humanities and arts degrees, which are generally less well-paid.
This comes after the Institute of Fiscal Studies found that medicine and dentistry graduates earned the most after their study, earning £46,700 five years after graduation while creative arts degree-holders earned the lowest at £20,100.
In response to these proposals, final year computer science student, Thomas Williams said: ‘It sounds like it’ll just discourage people going into STEM subjects and just screw up their career prospects long-term.’
Another student final year english student added: ‘It cuts off poorer children from higher earning careers and will inadvertently perpetuate class gaps.’
A final year human biology student told Redbrick: ‘Truthfully, I wouldn’t have done biology if there was a price gap like that.’
Universities Minister, Sam Gyimah also announced plans to introduce two-year degrees that would cost 20% less than current three-year undergraduate courses, with a proposed pricing of £11,000 a year.
The plans will make university more cost-effective for students who are less well-off. The shorter courses aim to appeal to commuter students and mature students.
The current post-18 education review is one widely criticised by academic teaching staff who fear that adjusting fees according to courses would create division within universities that would lower the value of arts and humanities degrees as well as reduce their funding.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds defended the reasoning behind the proposals: ‘With a system where almost all institutions are charging the same price for courses – when some clearly cost more than others and some have higher returns to the student than others – it is right that we ask questions about choice and value for money.’
A decision is expected to be made in the next few months regarding the tuition fee change.